16th June 2019

Care Givers.

I’m writing this blog as a tribute to those who care for loved ones. For the past three years, I have had the privilege to work part-time as a volunteer counsellor for a charity that supports carers. It is estimated that 6.5 people in the UK provide unpaid care to a family member, neighbour or friend, this equates to one in eight people. Many carers juggle school, college, full or part-time jobs, with their caring role.  A large number of carers give up their jobs to become full-time carers, this can become a lonely and isolating experience, as a consequence of this, carers can experience both physical and mental ill-health. I have supported carers at different stages in their caregiving journey for some, at the beginning and for others at the end. Every carer has a different combination of life circumstances. However, consistent common themes in the carers I worked with included: anxiety, depression, anger, grief, guilt, resentment and hopelessness.  The role of a caregiver becomes part of your identity –  you are responsible for the well-being of another, much like the role of a mother. This involves managing personal and practical care, providing a safe environment, whilst constantly being vigilant, putting their needs first and making sure that the cared- for wants for nothing. Being able to feel upbeat and positive when you’re under such pressure can become impossible. In my experience carer’s emotions can swing from immense sadness to resentment and anger. They then feel guilty about feeling […]
17th August 2019

Healthy boundaries.

  This blog is to help those of us who feel like we cannot say no and as a result, become frustrated and overwhelmed, because we have spread ourselves too thinly. Often we can feel torn between promises to family, friends, work responsibilities, financial obligations. Having too many commitments that emotionally and physically drain us can lead us to feel that we are not in control of our lives. Healthy boundaries are crucial for emotional, physical and relational health, as well as our care and respect towards ourselves and others. When there is no clear partition between our and others’ needs and feelings, relationships can suffer and eventually may result in feelings of resentment, disappointment, or even violation. Most people are not trying to violate our boundaries—they just aren’t aware of what they are, this is because, often, we are not clear with ourselves and ultimately others about what we want or need So, what are boundaries? They are decisions that we make often subconsciously, which direct our behaviour and the way we interact with others. Another way of looking at boundaries is seeing them as to where we decide to draw our line in the sand. To better understand where our lines lie we must listen to our inner voice that says “I will go that far and no further.” Emotional boundaries are about respecting our own feelings and knowing our worth. It is crucial that we care for our own needs before we can have healthy relationships and […]
6th October 2019

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a term that has become popular in recent years, often used in conversations but not always fully understood. So what is Emotional Intelligence? Many people believe it is about having and expressing strong feelings, this can often come with negative connotations.  Essentially, Emotional Intelligence refers to a person’s ability to identify, manage, regulate and respond effectively to their own and others emotions. Emotional Intelligence goes hand in hand with empathy; ( a heightened sensitivity to yours and others’ emotions) which makes it easier to recognize the underlying feelings driving another person’s actions, relate to them, and then in response treat them with kindness and compassion rather than contempt, confusion, or carelessness. Emotional intelligence typically correlates with communication skills because having heightened emotional awareness can make it easier to explain to someone exactly how you’re feeling or what’s bothering you. As we learn to effectively understand and empathically express our emotions, it becomes easier to self- regulate, problem-solve and not get overwhelmed in the face of upset and conflict. This makes us more pleasant to be around and improves our interactions and relationship with others. So how can we develop and improve our Emotional Intelligence? I believe it is important to stop blocking out our emotions. Some of the ways we numb ourselves to our emotions include drugs, alcohol, screens, social media, gambling, food, television, etc. These coping mechanisms and habits we adopt can become hard-to-break. When we have an impulse to turn to our coping mechanisms to […]
3rd November 2019

Social Media’s impact on mental health and well being.

  Over the past decade, social media has had a huge impact on our society and us as individuals. As a result, it has become an integral part of our life and is set to become an even more central aspect of our lives in the future. The effect of social media can have a significant and in some cases devastating impact on our mental health if not managed correctly. There’s no doubt social media has changed our lives and is now a normal and vital part of people’s everyday routine.  Accessing information has become easy and we are used the instant responses and gratification it provides, finding products, services, opinions, directions, reviews, news and sport. It provides an effective platform to promote products and services and allows detailed targeting, which can reach a wider audience. Many people have also made successful careers as social influencers. Social media can be positive for our wellbeing – it connects us and gives people a voice, allows self-expression and can influence social change.  It can be motivational, inspiring, answer questions, pose questions, offer opportunities, extends hobbies and interests and provide an online support network, this ability to communicate increases a sense of worth and belonging. Social media platforms offer a positive and negative impact on mental health and wellbeing. YouTube ranks the most positive because it offers such a wealth of information, whilst representing diversity in a very real, honest and at times inspirational way. Meanwhile, Instagram is ranked the most negative; due […]